SANTIAGO, D.R.–Even though Monday night’s tilt between Licey and Aguilas was a great game, and the fans present were certainly 110 percent involved in everything, there weren’t as many of them at El Stadio Cibao as I, or many of the other American media here expected.
Which is a little shocking.
Even more so might be the number of Licey fans that made the 2 1/2 hour drive up from Santo Domingo–hearing them yell "Licey! Licey! Campeon! Campeon!" had to be a little depressing for Aguilas fans after watching their offense sputter in the 5-2 loss.
"We hate hearing that chant here," Aguilas outfielder Luis Polonia said. "But the outlook in our clubhouse every day is still going to be positive. We’ll get them again (on Thursday). This is the Caribbean Series, one big party. You don’t get to do everything else you would normally do during any season. There is no practice. You just show up and go. Last night, we were a little flat."
* I arrived back at the hotel after midnight, and was running short on pesos. I had to find an ATM fast, and the one in the stadium wasn’t taking my card for whatever reason. So I asked the concierge if there was one close by. She was kind enough to provide me with an armed escort for the two-block walk.
Let that sink in.
* There was an amateur workout at Polonia’s complex, which–from what I understand–sits just to the north of the city and was one of the hardest hit regions of the Dominican when Hurricane Olga came through in December.
I called one international scout after the game Monday night and left a message telling him I’d love to go. And then things got all espionage on me.
I got a text message at 8:42 a.m. telling me that I needed to be at the "Hotel Hodelpa Centro at calle del sol" by 9:30 a.m. A driver would pick me up and take me to the workout.
More on that experience upcoming, but like everything here in the D.R., it’s way different than anything else I’ve ever encountered.